Skiing in Eastern Europe
– Pamporovo, Bulgaria
Just do it, they said
It had been a while since my last full winter vacation. Work, work, work. With a start-up business, the starting up never seems to end. However this Christmas I decided to reward myself with a 7-day trip, destination unknown. Unknown to me, that is, not to the rest of the world, as it turned out.
After having pored over the typical choices for a holiday – cities, beach resorts and cruises – I realised two facts. One, I’d never been to Eastern Europe – and it’s been over 20 years since the Soviet Era! And two, I really missed skiing, which is something I used to do a lot before this working lark took over my life.
Having revealed to my friends my plan of a skiing holiday somewhere in Eastern Europe and having met with a disconcertingly enthusiastic ”About time too!” and a ”Just do it!” I started the search for the perfect ski resort.
Pamporovo, Pamprovo? Anyway, it’s in Bulgaria
Now despite all that startup businessing I’m not flush with money (yet), so I kept an eye on the subject of value for money. No five-star hotels for me, no hostels either. Two- to four-star accommodation, then. As to the skiing part, I preferred the whole gamut of slopes ranging from basic (it had been a while) through intermediate to expert (just in case it all came back, like riding a bike), with a good cross-country ski track or two thrown in for good measure.
It didn’t take long for me to zoom in on the South-Eastern part of Europe, more precisely the Balkans – not the notorious parts but the areas to the East and to the South, protected by the very same range of mountains. There, it’s practically a skip and a jump from the mountainous winter to the clement Mediterranean life on the beach. And in that part of Europe, Bulgaria stands out with its minimal distances from the snowy peaks to the shores of the Black Sea in the East or the Aegean Sea in the South – from snowboarding to wakeboarding in a blink of an eye!
And that’s how I found Pamporovo, one of Bulgaria’s four main ski resorts. And that’s also how I found Mountain Lodge, my three-star, spanking new, best value for money apartment hotel, smack in the centre of Pamporovo.
(Don’t take my word for it, click for yourself:http://www.booking.com/hotel/bg/mountain-lodge-aparthotel.en-gb.html)
A whole week for just over €300, breakfast included! And this in a hotel with a 8.7/10 customer rating! My own kitchenette, all modern amenities, with shops and restaurants and even a spa nearby, free shuttle service to the ski centre… Rhodope mountains, I said to myself, here I come!
Live webcams: http://www.bulgariaski.com/pamporovo/webcams/index.html
Pamporovo lies 1620 metres above sea level, with runs starting over 300 metres above.
14 ski lifts (5 chair, 9 drag).
The distance:drop -ratio of the ski runs range from 10:1 to 4:1 (black/red run).
The skiing season opens in the beginning of December and continues to the middle of April.
Pamporovo ski runs: http://www.bulgariaski.com/pamporovo/skiruns.shtml
Pamporovo ski run map: http://www.bulgariaski.com/cmim.php?pic=fmimages/pampss.jpg